The national capital voted today to elect a new government, after a campaign in which the BJP pulled no punches against the AAP which is eyeing another term in office.
The Congress is the third main force in the contest in which 672 candidates are in the fray for 70 Assembly seats. Over 1.47 crore voters are eligible to exercise their franchise. Polling began in the capital at 8 a.m. According to Election Commission of India, the voter turnout was was 57.06% till 6 p.m.
Here are the latest updates:
3 minority-dominated seats witness highest voter turnout
The three minority-dominated seats of Mustafabad, Matia Mahal and Seelampur recorded the highest voter turnout in the Assembly elections on Saturday, polls officials said.
Also read | Women protesters at Shaheen Bagh vote in batches to keep agitation alive
According to the data shared by the officials, Mustafabad in northeast Delhi recorded 66.29 per cent voter turnout till 5 p.m.
Matia Mahal in old Delhi, the area that saw anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protests, recorded a voter turnout of 65.62%.
Seelampur, another minority seat in northeast Delhi, recorded 64.92% voting. The seat had also seen anti-CAA protests in December.
According to Election Commission of India, the voter turnout for Delhi Assembly elections till 6 p.m. was 57.06%.
Exit polls predict easy win for AAP
Exit polls have forecast a comfortable victory for the ruling Aam Aadmi Party despite a likely rise in tally for the BJP in the 70-member House.
The Times Now-Ipsos exit polls predict that Mr. Kejriwal will retain his chair with the AAP winning 44 seats against 26 for the BJP.
The Republic-Jan ki Baat survey gave the AAP 48-61 seats and the BJP 9-21 seats. The TV9 Bharatvarsh-Cicero predicted 54 seats for the AAP, 15 for the BJP and one for the Congress. The exit polls predicted little improvement in the fortunes of the Congress which could not bag any seat in the 2015 polls.
The AAP had scored an overwhelming victory in the 2015 polls, winning 67 seats and reducing the BJP to three.
The best figures for AAP came from ABP News-C Voter (49-63), India News-Neta (53-57), Republic TV (48-61) and TV9 Bharatvarsh-Cicero (54). The best numbers for the BJP are in the range of 24 to 28 with Times Now-Ipsos giving 26 and Sudarshan News giving 24-28. The top figure for Congress is 3 (Sudarshan News).
In 2015, exit polls gave Mr. Kejriwal’s party 39-48 seats and the best prediction for BJP was 33 seats. Click here to read our coverage of the 2015 Delhi Elections.
Kalitara Mandal, Delhi’s oldest voter, lived ‘twice as a refugee’
Centenarian Kalitara Mandal, the oldest voter in Delhi, cast her vote on February 8 and urged people to take part in the democratic exercise.
Aged 111, she came to a polling station in C.R. Park along with her son, grandson and other family members. She flashed her inked wrinkled finger to photographers after voting.
“I am happy to vote in this election. I don’t remember how many elections I have taken part in, but as a responsible citizen, we must vote. I urge other citizens to also come out and vote,” Ms. Mandal told PTI.
Born in undivided India in Barisal (now in Bangladesh), Ms. Mandal has seen the subcontinent go through turbulent phases many times, including two partitions, and lived “twice as a refugee” in India along with her family before finding a home in the national capital.
There are a total of 132 centenarian voters in Delhi — 68 males and 64 females.
Voter turnout for the Assembly polls at 5 p.m. stood at 57.87%, according to the Election Commission of India (ECI).
Voter turnout by 5 p.m. stood at 44.52%, Sheyphali Sharan, official spokesperson of the ECI, said on Twitter.
AAP, JBJP workers scuffle in Rithala
A scuffle broke out between Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and BJP workers at a polling station in Rithala in north-west Delhi. There has, however, been no complaint from either side.
41.5% voter turnout by 3 p.m.
Provisional voter turnout by 3 p.m. stood at 41.5%, according to the Election Commission of India.
Women after casting their vote at north-east Delhi's Jafrabad area.
Indo-Tibetan Border Police personnel could be seen outside a polling station in the area. On Friday, two bike-borne men allegedly opened fire outside a shop around two kilometres away from an anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protest site in Jafrabad.
'Mobile locker' without a 'lock'
A "mobile locker" was found at a polling station in Guru Amar Das Public School in Tilak Nagar, but there was no token system and officials said that voters have to keep the phone in it at their own risk. "It (locker) is kept on the table, but we do not keep a tab on who is keeping which phone and taking which one," an election official said.
Satpal Kaur, 60, who had kept her phone in the locker when she went to vote, says, "I asked them aren't they going to note my name when I kept my phone...They should be doing it."
Women on a sit-in protest at Turkman Gate against the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act, National Population Register and National Register of Citizens, as Delhi votes for its Assembly.
They are protesting after casting their vote.
Acclaimed Indian sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik shared his art forms inspired by the Delhi polls on Twitter.
Kejriwal in war of words with BJP on Twitter
As Delhi went to polls, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was locked in a war of words with BJP leaders on Twitter. Responding to allegations by BJP Delhi chief Manoj Tiwari that Mr. Kejriwal had made the Hanuman Temple “impure” by not washing his hands after removing his shoes and doing puja, he tweeted that god belonged to everyone and hoped that god blessed everyone, including BJP voters.
He also drew criticism from BJP leader Smriti Irani over his appeal to women to go out and vote along with the men of the house and discuss with them which party would be the right party to vote for. Read here to know more.
23.36% voter turnout by 1 p.m.
Voter turnout in the Delhi Assembly polls stood at around 23.36% by 1 p.m., according to the Election Commission.
Priyanka Gandhi, family votes
Congress party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and her husband Robert Vadra with their son Rihaan Vadra on the way to cast their votes in New Delhi. Rihaan is voting for the first time.
Glimpses from West Ansari Nagar
Ashok Kumar doesn't "believe in these free power and water schemes." "How will the government function if everything is free? What about the promise made to give permanent jobs to contract workers? I’ve voted against unkept promises,” he adds after exercising his franchise.
Manju Gupta says, “Our power and water bills are zero; travel aboard buses is free. I’ve voted for (Arvind) Kejriwal because of the direct benefits he has ensured for people like me.”
Another West Ansari Nagar resident, Urmila Devi, says, "Everything has become so expensive. There are no jobs for our children. Why vote for someone who is responsible for all this? I have no problem admitting that I voted for jhaadu (Aam Aadmi Party) because (PM Narendra) Modi did nothing for Delhi."
Shakuntala Devi, 75, had a simple answer when asked what issue decided her vote: “I’ve voted for the party which ensured that I get my monthly pension.”
Voters of all ages
Sumitra, who is 100 years old, after casting her franchise at the primary school, Tihar Block-1, Subhash Nagar polling booth in West Delhi.
Glimpses from the poll booth...
Palak Hans, an 18-year-old Delhi University student and a first time voter said that the main issue for which she voted was CAA protests.
"Many of my friends faced the violence in Jamia and one got injured badly and she had stitches on her head. CAA was not right. Government should not have excluded a particular section of people from getting nationality," she said.
Kejriwal in Delhi, Modi in Centre
Kamal and Revti Gautam, a married couple from Chandi Chowk constituency where former AAP member Alka Lamba is contesting on a Congress ticket, said they don't even know the name of their AAP candidate, but voted for Kejriwal.
"We voted for Modi in 2018 election and now we are voting for Kejriwal in Delhi. We are impressed with Modi's international policies and Kejriwal's local policies," the duo said.
'My vote for the party that delivered on its promise'
Vijaylakshmi Nag, who is voting from the West Ansari Nagar in New Delhi AC says that she voted for the party that delivered on its promises.
"When we vote, we choose on the basis of who is honest and who is not and whether they have fulfilled their promises. I have voted for the party which has delivered on both these counts," she said.
14.75% voter turnout till 11 a.m.
Around 14.75% voter turnout till 11 a.m. in Delhi Assembly polls, says Election Commission.
According to Associated Press , surveys by television news channels have predicted a clear victory for the Aam Admi Party in the 70-member State assembly. The Congress, a distant third party, has run a lackluster campaign and is expected to fare poorly
Advani casts his vote
Former Deputy Prime Minister and a senior member of Bharatiya Janata Party L.K. Advani cast his vote at a polling booth on Aurangzeb lane. He was accompanied by his daughter Pratibha Advani.
Glimpses from the poll booth...
Harpreet Singh Sonu, 45, says that he has been ferrying voters for free in his e-rickshaw from Tihar Village to the polling station in Subhash Nagar since 8:30 a.m. on Saturday.
"My uncle is connected with BJP and I'm doing it for him," he said outside the polling station.
Meanwhile, 20-year-old twins Simmi and Kajal, along with their brother, came out to vote for development.
"We are very impressed with the work done by AAP, be it education or health," said the siblings, a resident of Chandrawal in North Delhi.
Argument breaks out between Congress' Alka Lamba and AAP workers
Congress candidate Alka Lamba got into an argument with polling staff at a polling station in North Delhi area.
Ms. Lamba, the INC's candidate from Chandni Chowk Assembly constituency and a former AAP member, had gone to visit a polling station in her constituency when an Aam Aadmi Party volunteer objected to her wearing the Congress party's election symbol.
AAP volunteer (polling agent) brought it to the notice of polling officer and Ms. Lamba was asked to move out of the station, which angered her. An argument between the workers of both parties ensued until the security personnel deployed at the polling station brought the situation under control.
Watch: Voting on in India's capital
For the first time, at least 11 booths will be accepting QR code-based voter slips, senior officials said. These will be scanned using a “Booth App” run by polling staff at the booths. Also, polling officials have also been asked to come to the station a day in advance. Senior officials siad that this had been done to avoid issues on the day of polling with many having to wake up very early and travel long distances.
The Gandhis cast their votes...
Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi cast their vote for the Delhi Assembly elections.
Sonia Gandhi, who was unwell and discharged from a hospital here this week, voted at the Nirman Bhavan polling station.
She was accompanied by her daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.
Rahul Gandhi cast his vote at the NP Senior Secondary School in Aurangzeb Lane.
When former PM Manmohan Singh got his finger inked...
Glimpses from the poll booth...
Heena Ahmad, make up artist, said that she is voting to ensure a safer future for her children.
"For the last 56 days women have been demanding this only. We want a minister who doesn’t use impolite language. Good education and safe environment for the next generation is what we want. My daughter was injured in the Jamia violence," she said.
Delhi's oldest voter gets her finger inked
Kalitara Mandal, the 111-year-old Delhi voter, has lost all her teeth but definitely not her appetite for fish and the will to participate in elections.
The centenarian is the eldest of four generations of Mandals who live in C.R. Park, a Bengali enclave set up in the national capital after the 1971 Indo-Pakistan War that led to the creation of Bangladesh.
“She is quite eager to take part in the elections as a voter. Last year too she voted in the Lok Sabha polls... This time also she is eager to get her finger inked,” said her son Sukh Ranjan.
Hoping for a third win: Kejriwal
Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal said that he is hopeful that his party will form the government for the third time at the capital.
He was speaking to the press after casting his vote. I am hopeful that the people will vote for our work, he added., voting at the Rajpura Transport Authority polling station in the Civil Lines area.
Kejriwal, who is contesting the polls from the New Delhi seat, was accompanied by his wife Sunita and son Pulkit. Before leaving for voting, he sought his parents blessings.
Later, Mr. Kejriwal shared a photo of his family on Twitter, taken after casting vote.
"Voted along with my family, including my first-time voter son. Urge all young voters to come out to vote. Your participation strengthens democracy," AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal said in a tweet.
Vote in large numbers: Amit Shah
Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who campaigned extensively in the national capital for the Assembly polls, urged people to vote in large numbers.
“By giving Delhi clean air, clean drinking water and house to every poor, Delhi will become the best capital of the world and that can be done only by a government with far-sighted thinking and strong intention. I appeal to the people of Delhi to vote to free Delhi from lies and vote bank politics,” he tweeted in Hindi.
PM Modi urges Delhiites to vote
Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged people, especially the youth, to come out and vote in record numbers in Delhi Assembly elections.
“Today is the polling day for the Delhi Legislative Assembly...Urging the people of Delhi, especially my young friends, to vote in record numbers,” Mr. Modi wrote on Twitter.
Former Vice President Hamid Ansari and BJP national secretary Ram Lal were among those who queued up outside the Nirman Bhavan polling station in the first hour of voting.
Glimpses from the poll booth...
My vote is against Shaheen Bagh: Sanjeev Gupta
Sanjeev Gupta, 48, who works at a private company in Noida said that he has cast his vote "against Shaheen Bagh".
"Kejriwal has done work, but the protests in Shaheen Bagh shouldn't be happening. My Hindu brothers in other countries are suffering and the law is to bring them here. It is not denying the rights of anyone in India," he says.
The first hour of polling in Delhi Assembly elections has seen a voter turnout of approximately 0.79% according to Election Commission of India's 9 a.m. report.
Glimpses from the poll booth...
This vote for women's safety
Reena Mishra, 42, who was waiting to vote with her 16-year-old youngest daughter said that she will vote for women's safety.
"Girls face a lot of problem when they go out. It should change. They should be safe and everyone should feel safe," Ms. Mishra who works at a printing press for ₹6,500 a month said outside a polling station in New Ashok Nagar.
Piyali Deb, a 19-year-old Delhi University student, concurs. "The major factor on my mind is the Nirbhaya case and how the convicts have still not been hanged. All I want is a safer Delhi for women and girls," she says.
Meanwhile, voting at two of the polling booths in Raisina Bengali School, CR Park started late due to issues with the EVM.
Glimpses from the poll booth...
My vote for better education: Govind Sarkar
Outside a polling booth in New Ashok Nagar, Govind Sarkar, 55, father of four children, said that he has voted for their better education.
"We are poor and I want the government to provide good education for my children. I hope that the government will help us for their college education also, so that they can stand on their own feet," the daily wage labourer whose eldest son is in ninth grade said.
Concerned about local issues only: Gour Kanjilal
Gour Kanjilal, 74, a retired central government employee, says that this election, he is concerned about local issues only.
"Safety, water supply, health, schools, hospitals and other incentives are what’s important. Capital should look like a civilised part of the world and not have broken roads and overflowing public toilets. Markets are overcrowded with makeshift shops on the footpaths which make it difficult for people like me to walk. Such remedies can only be brought about by the Delhi govt and not the Centre," he says.
Kejriwal appeals to women voters
As voting begins, Delhi Congress Chief Subhash Chopra appealed to all Delhi voters to bring back happiness in Delhi by voting for the Congress
Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal appealed to women of the national capital. He said that just as they bear the responsibility of their house, the responsibility of the country and Delhi is also on their shoulders. He appealed to them to take all the male members of their house to vote and discuss with them about who the right person to vote for is.
Voting begins amid tight security
The polling for the 70-member Delhi Assembly got underway on Saturday morning at 8 a.m. as per schedule.
Security forces kept a tight watch across the 70 constituencies, with police and paramilitary personnel keeping an “extra vigil” in sensitive areas like Shaheen Bagh, Jamia Nagar and Seelampuri.
40,000 police personnel, 190 CAPF companies, 19,000 Home Guards deployed
Delhi Police have made adequate arrangements and deployed around 40,000 security personnel, 19,000 home guards and 190 companies of Central Armed Police Forces to ensure smooth conduct of the Assembly elections, officials said.
While specific election duties have been given to Delhi Police personnel, the CAPF companies have been deployed to provide security at polling booths and movement of EVMs.
Around 19,000 Home guards from states like Uttarakhand, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh will also assist the local police in providing security at polling booths, the officials said.
A multi-layered security has been put in place at 21 counting centres and 2,689 polling premises, out of which 545 are “critical”, they said.
“Delhi Police personnel and para military forces have been deployed at critical booths so that more enforcement and better arrangement can be ensured. Patrolling has also been intensified in those localities,” said Sharat Kumar Singha, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Election Cell).
Marked by the BJP aggressively pushing the anti-CAA protests in Shaheen Bagh as a poll issue, the AAP hard selling development and the Congress conspicuous by its near absence, the bitter, often divisive campaign for the Delhi assembly elections ended on February 6.
Additional forces have also been deployed to bolster the security of EVMs, critical booths and counting centres, he said.
Extra vigil in Shaheen Bagh, other sensitive areas
In view of the ongoing anti-CAA protests in Shaheen Bagh, the Delhi CEO Office has put all five polling stations in the area under the “critical” category, and confidence-building measures are continuously being undertaken to reassure voters, officials said.
Delhi Chief Electoral Officer Ranbir Singh reiterated that the area is under “tight vigil” and “there is no obstruction” in areas where poll activities will be conducted, so voters will face no problems.
At 111, Bangladesh-born woman is Delhi’s oldest voter
Born in undivided India in 1908, Kalitara Mandal has seen the subcontinent go through turbulent phases many times, including two partitions, and lived “twice as a refugee” in India along with her family before finding a home in the national capital.
Ms. Mandal, who has seen and participated in nearly all elections in India in the last century, fondly recalls the time when ballot boxes were used to vote. “Yes, I remember, they (polling officials) would take my thumb impression and then the ballot paper would be folded and put into boxes. I have voted with big machines (EVMs) too,” she said.
AAP looks to repeat 2015 performance
The ruling Aam Aadmi Party is going into the Delhi election with the hope to repeat its stellar performance of the 2015 Assembly polls , while the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which bagged all seven seats in the Lok Sabha election in May 2019, will be aiming at expanding its vote share in the national capital.
The Congress is seeking to better its performance than last time when it did not bag any seat in the Assembly polls but improved its vote share in 2019 polls.
The AAP had got 54.3% votes in the 2015 Assembly polls, while the BJP secured 32% and the Congress bagged just 9.6% of the total votes polled.